Sir: Your recent feature and comment on communicating the price paid to dairy farmers by supermarkets presents an interesting challenge to retailers.
Should those paying a premium simply not bother, seeing as they’re not getting the credit for it? Why spend thousands on advertising and in store messaging if shoppers don’t care or won’t listen?
You’re right to say current news about Tesco in particular is probably not helping, but it’s also about built-up trust and long-held beliefs.
Shoppers don’t necessarily expect retailers to be ‘doing the right thing’ by their dairy farmers and will assume they’re not, unless that assumption is challenged. Adverts and in store activity won’t challenge that enough. After all, they would say that, wouldn’t they. Shoppers need to hear it from the farmers - either directly or through others that they trust, like NFU leaders, for example.
Open Farm Sunday is a good route to market for these messages, too. Hundreds of thousands of shoppers will visit a farm in July, but unless they’re told they’ll have no idea who it supplies or whether the farmer is happy about the relationship with his retail customer.
Happy farmers need to be heard, and the retailers need to help them shout. It’s a long game, but doing the right thing and talking about it yourself just isn’t enough at the moment.
Jon Neal, associate director, Kendalls